4 Things to Consider Before you Buy a Pet Turtle

March 12th, 2020

For all the apartment-dwellers out there who dream of owning a pet but have heartless landlords who won’t allow them to keep a dog or cat, I have a solution for you: a turtle! Although it might not bear much resemblance to the furry companion you hoped for, turtles actually make great pets and look super cool in indoor spaces.

However before you rush off in search of your new reptile friend, there are a few things to consider to make sure you are fully prepared to care for your turtle:

  1. Turtles live for a long time
    Wisdom comes with age so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the wise turtle lives much longer than your standard house pet.  Turtles can live up to 50 years of age in their natural habitat! and pet turtles can easily live up to 20 or 30 years with proper care. So the decision to invest in a turtle should not be taken lightly- it is a serious commitment and you have to be prepared to be in it for the long haul.
  1. Choosing the type of turtle
    There are approximately 270 types of turtles, with 26 species in Australia alone. This may seem like a daunting array of options for the first-time turtle owner, so knowing what types are the most pet-friendly will help you make an informed decision.  A good idea before purchasing a turtle is to contact the Australian Herpetological Society. Their members will have turtles to sell and you can learn everything you need to know about how to properly care and nurture your turtle from the society. As a starting point you may want to research some types considered ideal for beginner turtle parents including the Eastern snake necked turtle which is indigenous to Australia, relatively easy to take care of and known for its trusting nature.
  1. Check if you need a license
    In many Australian States you need a reptile license to purchase a turtle. Check out the requirements and the application procedure for the state you live in here.  A word of warning:  it is illegal to capture a turtle from the wild and keep it as a pet so make sure you go through the appropriate channels.
  1. Set up cost
    There are start-up costs involved in setting up a comfortable environment for your turtle- heat lamps, filtration system, UV lights, docking platforms and a big tank are some of the essentials you will need to invest in.  Be prepared to spend anywhere between $500-$1,200. Maintaining your turtle’s environment will also take some time and research. The water temperature and pH level must be monitored regularly to ensure your turtle stays healthy.

Owning a turtle does involve an investment in money and time so make sure you are armed with the knowledge to care for its particular needs. A little but of research and preparation will go a long way and is well worth the effort as turtles are fascinating creatures that are great to have around.

The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the writer. Content published here does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Petcover.

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